Penn State Football Vs. Joe Pa

January 16, 2012
by Justin

Welcome back to ATCFWT, the ultimate destination for all the college football drama of the week, provided exclusively to you by scoutme. In volume one, we weighed in on conference realignment, while in two and three updated you about new developments. Volume four was highlighted with the possibility of Boise State playing for the Big East, and the fifth piece provided more insight. Volume six was about more conference realignment along with some NCAA rule updates. Volume seven was all about national powerhouses LSU and Alabama getting together, and volume eight broke down the Jerry Sandusky scandal. With all this drama going around, volume eight touched on how to thrive in the current, college football landscape.


This week we’ll explore the aftermath of the scandal that rocked Penn State and Penn State Football to the core. Joe Paterno, who was in his 46th season and is affectionately referred to as Joe Pa, is being held responsible for the alleged child molestation of retired ex-defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. This scandal was all she wrote for the 85-year-old ball coach, even a week after he won his 409th game to become the winningest coach in Division I history.


Penn State Football Vs. Joe Pa: The Aftermath

The Penn State football program experienced backlash from their alumni when New England Patriots offensive coordinator, Bill O’Brien was hired to take over for Joe Pa. I first learned about the story via twitter, when my favorite Nittany Lion, Lavar Arrington, tweeted “I’m done, all my PSU stuff will be down before Obrien’s introduction!” He along with another Former Penn State linebacker Brandon Short, were furious because interim coach Tom Bradley was not considered for the position. Bradley, who had been an assistant under Joe Paterno since 1979, was never formally interviewed and will not be returning next season, after O’Brien confirmed that he would not be on his staff. Arrington further explained his statements, but he was clearly hurt by the obvious message the Penn State Board of Directors was trying to communicate. Essentially, they want nothing to do with Joe Pa or anyone connected to his legacy.


O’Brien is the farthest thing from the legendary Joe Pa. He’s basically the antithesis of Joe Pa. O’Brien’s only actual claim to fame is getting into a shouting match with Tom Brady. Calling him a winner is laughable; his teams at Duke went 1–10, and 0–12 before he coached in New England. His credentials read more like a rap sheet than a resume. Outside of O’Brien having no similarities to Joe Pa aside from of being a Brown alum, the former Penn State football players were also upset because their request to have Bradley carry the torch was ignored. Short and Arrington were apart of the 100 reported former Nittany Lions who supported Bradley.


“Penn State is a family and it is real, and if they choose to get rid of Bradley and not hire a Penn State coach, then they’ve turned their backs on our entire family,” Short said.


Outside of the disloyalty against Joe Pa, Penn State has went from damage controlling their school’s public image, to placing a black eye over their football program’s entire legacy with this hire.


“By these people making the decisions the way that they are making them, basically coinciding with everything that’s being written about our university, if they get rid of Tom Bradley, that means they, in essence, have accepted the fact that we are all guilty,” Arrington said.


Penn State vs. Joe Pa: The Aftershock

The other story that came as a shock to the Penn State football family was Joe Pa being diagnosed with lung cancer. Though not terminal, Joe Pa has been weakened by the chemotherapy treatments. Joe Pa revealed his cancer diagnosis no less than a week after being fired in November amid the Sandusky child molestation scandal. Joe Pa also broke his hip once again, and was admitted to the hospital last Friday after suffering from minor complications due to chemotherapy. Joe Pa, 85, remains employed as a tenured faculty member, and is still waiting for the details of his retirement to be finalized. The Penn State trustees have said they intend to honor Joe Pa’s contract, as if he had retired at the end of the 2011 football season.


In this world were people care more about perception over substance, Joe Pa stood tall for the latter. I personally do not think that it’s not fair to punish the Penn State football program for the alleged actions of one person. Joe Pa is as synonymous with Penn State as the swoosh is to the Nike brand. The most unfortunate victims in this story are the children, who represent the 52 reported counts of child molestation. Everyone around this situation seems to feel violated, which is understandable. College Town is a place where football is a religion, and with their shepherd removed from the field, the flock is left to fend for itself. Well, It’s about that time that get off my soapbox, but I’ll be back. Until the drama of college football dies, this is Yorick Hempstead, signing off.



Yorick Hempstead is an ex-college athlete who is a sports writer for scoutme. He is always talking sports on twitter @HempsteadHuddle.

Create Your FREE Profile

First Name: *
Last Name: *
e-Mail: *
I am a: *
Captcha code: *